Most of us are familiar the book of Ruth, the story of a young woman who left her home country to care for her widowed mother-in-law. The two women are destined to live in poverty, unless someone steps in to help them.
Enter Boaz. Boaz is in Christ’s lineage, King David’s great-great-grandfather. He had a unique position in his extended family. He was a kinsman redeemer – someone who was responsible for (or had the privilege of – depending on perspective) caring for his family members in need.
Boaz was a kind and generous man. When he met Ruth gleaning in the fields, he instructed his servants to leave behind grain for her to find. When he realized she was a member of his extended family, he was willing to care for her. When he learned her husband had died, Boaz publicly committed to marrying her, giving her children to carry on her family’s lineage – to being her kinsman redeemer.
He could have done what the kinsman-redeemer that preceded him did. He could have refused to see his responsibilities through. But Boaz was an honorable man. He made whatever sacrifices were necessary to meet Naomi and Ruth’s needs.
Boaz, the kinsman-redeemer, is an Old Testament picture of Christ, our Redeemer. Just as Boaz cared for Naomi and Ruth’s physical needs, Christ cares for ours. Just as Boaz preserved Ruth’s inheritance by giving her children, Christ gives us a spiritual inheritance by making us His children.
It’s interesting that Boaz, our Old Testament picture of the coming Messiah, was part of Christ’s lineage. Boaz and Ruth’s son, Obed, was King David’s grandfather.
There aren’t many Bible heros with spotless records. David had his troubles with Bathsheba. Abraham had an ongoing issue with telling lies. Samson gave up his secret, and his strength, to Delilah. It’s important to note, all these men finished well and are part of the great cloud of witnesses that cheers us on as we run our faith race. But Boaz, though imperfect like all the rest of us, is one of the few scripture records as a consistently righteous man.
What a challenge that presents. I pray we can all live as Boaz did, devoted to caring for the physical needs of others, helping them find redemption in Jesus, and aware of leaving behind a godly inheritance to those who come behind us.
But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. – 1 John 3:17-18